By Leslie Kinrys

Leslie Kinrys has loved birds since her father put a House Sparrow fledgling in her young hands. She lives and birds in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with some trips farther afield. She enjoys seeing all species of birds, but her favorites are hummingbirds.

Back in March, in Southwestern Florida, my husband (non-birder and good sport) and I drove to Big Cypress National Preserve. We traveled along Alligator Alley. There are always lots of birds to see on the way, especially waders. We decided to stop at H. P. Williams Wayside Park. This is a great spot for alligators, which we saw that day. We decided to have a picnic lunch there. Sitting in a nearby tree, American Crows were eyeing our sandwiches.

But it was a little warbler who joined us for lunch. A Palm Warbler, in breeding plumage, hopped onto the end of our table. I thought that was unusual behavior because warblers aren’t the type of birds to approach people. The usual, friendly types are chickadees, nuthatches, and some woodpeckers. 

This warbler kept coming closer and closer, staring at us the whole time. I told my husband that it looked like it was begging for food. A crumb of bread had fallen on the table. I flicked it towards the bird and it gobbled it up. Then, it came closer and stared at us some more. I don’t like to encourage wildlife to beg for food and I decided to ignore it. The warbler dropped under our table and hopped around our feet, looking for more crumbs, before it flew off.

A female Pileated Woodpecker

We saw a few more birds along the boardwalk. We had an Osprey, Turkey, and Black Vultures, soaring overhead. A Red-shouldered Hawk was crying as it hunted. A Pileated Woodpecker slipped through the trees. Then, it was time to head home.

Note: Palm Warbler cover photo taken from Pexels, an online source of copyright-free photos. Other photos by the Kinrys family

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